They each started out as a thick strip of steel that some unknown blacksmith stuffed into a coal forge and hammered into the shape needed to do a specific job for him. The rest just hang there taunting me with the mystery behind them: who made them and how long ago? It’s chipped and scarred and clearly shows the hard life working anvils always live.I use it periodically, but, more important, it’s always sitting there as I walk in the shop, trying hard to tell me its background.My shop isn’t that big and was maxed out for space.I wound up taking three multi-drawer drill index files which gave me every drill bit from wire sizes to 1/2 ” in fractional, numbered and lettered sizes.This morning I fired up my ancient, but trusty, Rockwell 6 x 48 stationary sander to reshape the nose of an open-end wrench.As I did, my old friend, Ken Brock, danced through my mind, as it always does when using this sander. A lot of folks won’t know the name Ken Brock because, unbelievably, it has been 15 years since we got the sad news.Years from now, when my kids are struggling with what to do with all the crap in my shop (a major problem), I’m certain there will be an indiscriminate garage sale in which a bunch of the stuff winds up in boxes on the curb, the carabiner ring of wrenches among them.
A lot of folks, however, those who knew him, will remember him as one of the most straight ahead, what you see is what you get, friendly people in their lives.
It’s a special moment that never loses its attraction to me.
I have dozens of my own wrenches that I’ve cut and welded, bent and ground on and otherwise mutilated to serve a specific purpose.
The walls of my shop/garage are lined with dozens and dozens of tools from long gone eras and I quite often find myself using one to solve some kind of problem.
Some of the tools, like the blacksmith tongs that were part of an old blacksmith shop I bought while still a teenager, are handmade, each for a special purpose. I also have a smallish anvil (60 pounds) I picked up at a hotrod swap meet a few years ago that has seen a lot of use.Who forged what on its anything-but-smooth surface constantly frustrates me.